First of all –
It’s been a good while since I saw Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone; it was on all last week, with the rest of them. What a joy. I didn’t get the chance to watch any of them from beginning to end, but I watched bits and pieces every chance I did get. I’d love to do a marathon soon.
Every entrance in Sorceror’s Stone was spot on; every casting choice just super (where did they find such marvelously perfect red-headed twins?)
– The Main Three’s reactions to their Sorting – Ron just melted in relief and joy
– Ron with a drumstick in each hand at the feast
– Snape’s entrance into his classroom
– You mount from the left of a broom, as with a horse
– “As long as Dumbledore’s around, you’re safe.” Oh dear.
– Hagrid playing a flute – the Harry Potter theme. Just gorgeous.I never remembered that. Makes me want to go find my elementary school recorder and learn to play that.
What a lovely world that is. It’s one of the very few mondo-bestsellers I can put my full support behind; I love the Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling, very nearly as much as I love Middle-earth. Once I would have thought that was blasphemy. *shrug*
Last weekend the lot of us – sans Mom, who would end up with nightmares (no, really) – went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. No 3-D crap, nothing fancy, just the ordinary movie.
First there was half an hour of trailers, of course:
– Yogi Bear, seriously? I can think of a hundred movies that *should* be made – honestly, hand me a pen and I could come up with at least 100 books and tv shows and old movies I’d pay serious money to see adapted – and instead they’re making Yogi Bear? Okay.
– Red Riding Hood … I was interested, of course: it looks very pretty. It looks right up my alley. “From the producers of Twilight” worried me – and then the worry was verified by every word out of the lead actress’s mouth. It has the look of a fairy tale, it has the look of something set in a prettified Dark Ages – but every word out of her mouth made it sound like … Twilight. No. Thanks. Please.
– But – – Kung Fu Panda 2! Now that was a clever trailer. Ninja staring contest! “You guys look amazing, by the way!” Adorable.
– The Voyage of the Dawn Treader looks fantastic; I missed Prince Caspian, and I haven’t read the books in donkey’s years, and this trailer sparked off all sorts of nostalgia like I haven’t felt since … Fellowship. (I miss LotR.)
Aannd … Harry Potter. Overall impressions: Very good. Very faithful. Very long. And very grim.
Actually, it was only about two and a quarter hours; it felt like we were in there for a day and a half. Maybe it was the sort of randomness of the story – they knew they had to find the horcruxes, didn’t know where to begin to look, and didn’t know how to find out, who to trust, where to go; I remember being frustrated with it in the book, but here (possibly because I knew what was coming) it was handled well enough that I don’t think that was the problem. I wasn’t bored … it just felt like the movie was twice as long as it actually was.
The story stuck beautifully to the book. They did put everything in, as advertised – except did people know about Tonks and Remus’s baby at this point? She started to make the announcement, and I think Mad-Eye stomped in and interrupted her. No matter – it was a tidbit tossed to the geeks, which would probably fly right over anyone else’s head unnoticed. (When did the Radio Free Hogwarts begin? I kept expecting Fred and or George every time they showed Ron with the radio. Did they cut that out? Or is that Part 2? Hm.)
So – long, faithful, good: very good. I read an article somewhere which talked about the sheer wonderful luck the franchise had in casting Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe – and all of the others who have carried through all eight movies, especially James and Oliver Phelps (the wonderful Weasley Twins) and Matthew Lewis (the wonderful Neville Longbottom); they were cast as children, and there was no guarantee that they would, every one, turn out to be, nine years later, all attractive and all at least tolerably good actors (some very good indeed). There was no guarantee they’d even look the part anymore nine years later – but they all still suit, very well indeed. The one I’ve doubted occasionally over the years – besides Daniel Radcliffe – has been Tom Felton (Draco), but he pulled it off in this one.
I believe Half Blood Prince was the last movie I saw in the theatre, and I remember being impressed by Felton’s Draco. I wish there had been time for a little more of him in this. The poor nasty kid – he couldn’t be any other way, given his Pureblood family. Here, his scenes underscored the pain – his father had committed the family to the Dark Lord, and it’s starting to seem like not the best idea suddenly … His father is afraid of Voldemort, and where does that leave the poor stupid helpless kid? He’s petrified. And has no choice. It’s a great character, and a better performance than I would have given Felton credit for a few years ago.
My very favorite, though, is Luna Lovegood. Love the character, adore the actress (Evanna Lynch), love the performance. She is a lovely, lovely soul – sweet and wise and serene. And fierce. And Irish. Utterly charming, and I think I’ll go have some pudding. That casting was a stroke of pure brilliance.
And grim … There was humor, but it was tense, usually. And it was awash in the terrors and worries of the film – the growing power of You-Know-Who, and Dumbledore’s death, arrests and inquisition and the influence of the locket, and the attack on the multiple Harrys resulting in woundings and a death, the constant drone of the radio listing the missing – and the deaths not only of characters in the background, muggles and wizardly alike, but also of two small characters. It was scary, and even my brother (who’s never cracked open any of the books) said it was very much a “how are they gonna get out of THIS one” situation. At this point in the book, I’ll admit it: I was still honestly expecting Dumbledore’s return. I can just picture someone of the same opinion at the end of this film – Here he comes! Oh – wait … The quote I had up there from Sorceror’s Stone – “As long as Dumbledore’s around, you’re safe” – well, things have changed now. They’ve had to.
Unfortunately, I know it’s not going to get any cheerier. Part II is going to be very, very tough. In a way this one was easier than the equivalent part of the book – I mean, when I read the attack on the multiple Harrys I was chewing on my fingernails expecting Hagrid to be killed. I was stunned by the way that journey went, and relieved, partly. It’s going to be as faithful to the book as this was, I understand – and I’m not, at all, looking forward to it.